There isn't much time to relax when you live the life of a treasure hunter. The ever-imperiled Nathan Drake is at it again, traveling the globe, searching for a lost artifact, and trying not to get shot, all for the sake of his noble (saving humanity) and selfish (impressing a lady) ambitions. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves doesn't veer far from the great formula established by Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, but a few tweaks and a strong focus on details make this a better game in every way. Your journey once again becomes an incredible adventure, constantly thrusting new obstacles in front of you that not only offer variety, but are also an absolute blast to overcome. The stunning visuals bring these exotic locales to life, giving you a scenic tour of a tropical jungle, crumbling ice cave, and dilapidated city, among others, while making every new place feel unique and welcoming. The gameplay isn't perfect--the cover mechanic is too sticky in tight places and there's some inconsistency when it comes to climbing obstacles--but these small problems are largely inconsequential. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an awesome game that continually surprises, impresses, and entertains.
6230673NoneThere are some problems that even grenades can't solve.
Treasure hunter Nathan Drake is off on another adventure, chasing an ancient artifact that is rumored to hold mysterious powers. After being lured into his latest adventure by his smarmy friend Harry Flynn, he quickly realizes the ramifications of his latest discovery. He then begins a new quest to thwart an evil warlord from grabbing this sacred object for himself and growing all-powerful in the process. The plot contains a number of not-so-surprising twists, but it stays interesting throughout because Drake and the supporting cast are so realistic and likable. His motivations are pure, but Drake takes on the formidable task with a roguish smile and sarcastic comments, making him inherently likable and rather funny. The playful back-and-forth with his friends also sounds realistic. Depending on what the situation warrants, the characters toss casual insults or helpful advice, and the ease with which they converse brings a feeling of authenticity to the action. This crisp dialogue, along with the finely crafted cutscenes and well-developed characters, helps the narrative of Among Thieves shine, making it a strong part of this excellent adventure.
Drake doesn't take his duty as a world-class treasure hunter lightly. He is well equipped to tackle anything that comes his way, whether he's fighting well-armed mercenaries, making treacherous leaps across near-bottomless pits, or using his noggin to piece together ancient puzzles. Taking down hordes of nameless soldiers is incredible in Uncharted 2 because of the wealth of awesome weaponry and the smooth shooting mechanic. Your arsenal packs a mean punch, and it's sadistically satisfying to let loose a deafening point-blank blast from a pistole or knock a sniper off a ledge with a perfect shot from your rocket launcher. The grenades are easy to aim, making it a joy to lob one right at the feet of a chain gun-toting madman and watch him soar with arms flailing into the clear blue sky. If you get close to your enemies, Drake isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. You can quietly snap the neck of an unsuspecting foe if you can sneak behind him unnoticed, but even in a face-to-face brawl, the fisticuffs are impressive. Mashing on the square button delivers powerful haymakers, but you'll need to avoid and counter the retaliatory punches of your enemies to finish them off. These killing blows are over-the-top, displaying your surprising power in slow motion as your enemies crumple to the turf.
Given that Drake can't withstand a bullet barrage, cover plays a huge part in Uncharted 2. While stop-and-pop action has been seen in other shooters, the levels in Among Thieves are designed to take advantage of vertical space to give these tussles a more dynamic feel. In many of these set-piece battles, you have the choice to stand meekly behind cover, peppering enemies from afar when you can risk sticking your neck out for a second, or to dance away from the action, strategically positioning yourself right where your foes are most vulnerable. This maneuverability adds a feeling of controlled chaos to battles, letting you constantly change your strategy to adapt to the different tactics your enemies will use to bring you down. Unfortunately, the controls are less than precise in cramped corridors, making it difficult to smoothly slide from cover to cover without mistakenly exposing your vulnerable backside. It's a small complaint, but it can be frustrating during some of the more intense battles if you find yourself sitting in the open air when you meant to hide behind a nearby desk. Nevertheless, the combat is explosive and unpredictable in Uncharted, and the huge variety in the levels forces you to constantly change your strategy.
Drake hangs around the strangest places.
Drake's impressive agility plays a major role during combat, but it's when he has the freedom to explore that his leaping prowess is fully revealed. You can climb up walls, swing from ropes, shimmy across ledges, and even leap from one moving vehicle to another during a thrilling chase sequence. The platforming sections do not demand that you be ultraprecise. Drake easily grabs onto any ledge he jumps near, so you need to worry more about what path you're going to take rather than how to land a ridiculous leap of faith. The environments you have to navigate are organic. You can climb a large variety of structures to continue on, whether it's a traffic sign in a war-torn city street, an icy rock face in a frozen cave, or a dangling branch in a tropical jungle. The only problem is that the platforming is pretty linear, so you often can't interact with surfaces that seem like they should be climbable. While this minor quibble chisels away a bit at the believability of your actions, the platforming sections are well designed and quite entertaining. And just when you get comfortable making your way across a treacherous precipice, a handhold will fall apart in your hands, making you quickly figure out a new way across and ensuring you never relax during these awesome sequences.
The majority of your quest is made up of these combat or platforming sections, but there are thoughtful puzzles you must solve as well. These quiet moments are not as entertaining as the action sequences, but they have their own charm. Here, you must perform such tried-and-true tasks as reflecting a beam of light onto a specific surface or placing ornamental blocks onto the correct squares, but there is a twist to the formula that gives Drake even more personality. Drake's journal contains everything you need to know to solve the puzzle at hand, and you must manually flip through the pages to find what you need. The book is filled with pictures and brief notes, and you must carefully analyze these diagrams to figure out the solution. The puzzles are far from challenging, but flipping through the book feels realistic, and piecing together the mysterious clues gives you a taste of what a real treasure hunter might experience. The doodles that Drake added to the journal are another cool aspect, although they don't have anything to do with your quest. One page depicts the various moods of his longtime friend Sully, and the goofy caricatures are pretty amusing.